Rejoice – I didn’t send you a Christmas Letter. Instead I give you a sign!

Last year I posted a note to my personal blog.  It was a bit of satire – a take off on the Christmas letters we had received.   It was silly and tongue in cheek, and it was probably the most popular blog I had written.

This year I thought I’d be a little more serious.  This has been a year where bad news has flourished – the economy, the environment — and at this time of year, once again fear seizes many and airports around the world go into security alert.  It would be tempting to succumb to the barrage.  It would be tempting to think that this was all happening to us, from forces greater that us — beyond our control.

I have to confess that I’ve skirted with that kind of thinking.  We’ve all had our share of tragedy in the past year.  Some of it is, quite rightly, out of our control.  But this year, I saw something that lifted my spirits and made me think.  It was a picture of a man, I’ve no idea who he is, who wore a simple sign that said, “I don’t believe in the recession.”

Futile?  Perhaps.   But I loved his defiance.  It made me think of an interview that I heard earlier this year with a man who had cancer, a cancer that would surely take his life.  When the interviewer confronted him with this and asked how he coped with it, his answer was simple.  “I will not let cancer define me.”

You will notice I didn’t call him a victim of cancer.  He may have had cancer, but he was no victim.

These were two of the events that started me thinking.   Years ago a friend of mine said that I gave him some of the best advice that he’d ever received.  I was amazed.  So I asked, “what was it I said?”

He said, I had told him, that I couldn’t help him as long as sh#t was happening to him.  I said to call me back, “when you start happening.”

Those inspirations were the source of this blog.  You can’t always choose the way the cards get dealt to you. But you can decide to change the game.

So this year, I’m focusing on the amazing things that have happened.

The new Chelsea Consulting was born this year.  My old company was acquired by Chelsea and I became CEO of a great boutique consulting company.  The Outsourcing/Managed Services side of that business continues to grow and we are hosting applications for an amazing group of companies.  The consulting end of the business has stayed steady despite the recession.   CRM has been growing like mad.   We’ve probably done as many SugarCRM implementations as any firm out there, and we continue to help companies implement and host a variety of these systems.  I have great partners and we have fabulous staff.   Even in a tough year, there is opportunity.

Many years ago my dad suggested that I become a teacher like him.  Like most kids, I didn’t listen and instead pursued my career in music and later in technology.   Over the past few years I’ve been invited to lecture at universities, but this year Waterloo invited me to a part time position on the faculty of their Master’s in Business Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET).   Not to be outdone, the Ted Roger’s (Ryerson) school has brought me into lecture.  If I can find time for York then I’ll have taught at all the schools I’ve attended.   Everyone has been so accommodating so I could do this without an impact on my “day job”.   And I love working the students.

I’ve been able to do a lot of writing in the past year.  The Cutter Journal continues to publish my work.  Their editors are merciless and the result is certainly a reflection of their devotion (and patience).  It’s great to be able to be challenged like that.  Who knows.  Maybe this will be the year that that long promised book finally appears.

Certainly it has been a year of creative moves.  The idea of “game changing” led to this blog and eventually to our radio show “Game Changing” – which has it’s own blog as well.

Our new radio show has a growing following.  I get to work with Allan Hoving and Janet Fouts on a regular basis.  We’ve had some fabulous guest hosts on – Catharine P. Taylor, Andrew Jenkins, Steve Ardrie.  I’ve had a chance to interview some of my heroes including Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Canadians Shelle Rose Charvet and Roger Martin.    Next year’s lineup looks equally incredible.  The show has a good audience but the real “listens” come from podcasts (Game Changing in iTunes). It’s a phone in show, the chat and twitter traffic are the real interaction.  In fact, the show has been so successful that we are planning a “spin off” in the coming year.

But it’s not just about what we do.  It’s also about what we give back.  I’ve been priviledged to be able to work with some great teams of individuals who are dedicated to making a real contribution to their professions and to their community.  As the Chair of the CMC Canada Toronto Chapter, I’ve been blessed by a great team of volunteers and staff.   My association with Endeavour the game changing idea that brings together consultants and not for profits has been most rewarding.  I get to do what I love – and they “harness that power for good”.

Oh, and certainly not unimportant – for those who know me — the family is happy, healthy and a source of immense joy.  Our family Christmas dinner was a chance for me take charge of dinner and have that moment to count my many blessings.

That’s my new year’s resolution.  I’m not going to be defined by the bad things that happen.   I will find things to be thankful for.  Not the other other way around. I’m happening to the world.

I wish you happiness and joy in the coming year.

Thanks to you all.  And thanks to the man with the sign!

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